GUIDELINES FOR DEVELOPING A SELECTION PLAN
What is a selection plan?
For example, it’s essential for a word
A selection plan establishes an understanding of processing operator to produce documents
the job so you can hire the most qualified applicant. using word processing equipment.
The plan lays out the major responsibilities of the Occasionally filling in as receptionist would be a
job, identifies what is needed to perform the job, marginal duty.
and identifies the most effective selection
procedures to use 3. Identify the KSBs needed to do the major duties
First step is the job analysis
Knowledge is the technical or professional
Job analysis means developing job-related information needed to perform the job, acquired
information. It’s the starting point in the selection through education, training, or personal
plan and, for that matter, in the entire recruitment experience. A given job may require knowing
and selection process. It’s a study of the job to ―about‖ something or "how to do‖ something.
determine these parts: People gain knowledge in a variety of ways
besides formal education. Usually, it makes
major duties and responsibilities more sense to consider the breadth and depth
their relative importance to the job of knowledge needed than the specific means
the competencies required to perform of getting it.
the qualifications for the job. These questions about the major duties will
clarify the knowledge needed:
The legal aspects of hiring demand that selection
procedures relate clearly the competencies needed What subject matter does the duty
to perform the job. A Job Analysis produces a cover?
written record. This record shows that you Within this subject matter, what facts or
appropriately studied the duties of the job. It also principles must the employee
shows you reached reasonable, job-related understand?
conclusions about KSBs and the procedures you’ll What is the depth and breadth of
use to measure them. knowledge required in these areas or
Conducting a job analysis
Skill involves proficiently applying knowledge
1. Start by generally describing the purpose of the and behavior in completing any part of a job.
job. Define the major work processes the Skills describe physical or mental activities,
employee does. These are the duty such as operating a forklift or calculating the
statements. Most jobs have three to five stress load on a bridge.
identifiable processes. Think about the main
functions of the job. Don’t get hung up on These questions about the major duties will
details. Here’s one way to figure out how to clarify the skills required:
organize duties and responsibilities into ―major
work processes‖ — think about whether they all What activities must the employee
require similar knowledge, skills, and behaviors. perform with ease and precision?
What are the manual skills required to
You can gather information in a number of operate machines, vehicles, equipment,
ways – interviewing the incumbent or or to use tools?
supervisor (or both), directly observing What mental skills are required to perform
performance, examining work products, using the assigned duties?
questionnaires, using Behavior Event or
―Critical Incident‖ interviews. Behavior is a way a person acts under given
circumstances that demonstrates personal and
2. Decide which duties are essential. Essential interpersonal competencies. Descriptions of
duties are either critical to the job or they take behaviors should portray observable actions
up a large percentage of time. used to achieve job-specific results, such as
GUIDELINES FOR DEVELOPING A SELECTION PLAN
accuracy and paying attention to detail doing the duties in similar jobs can help. So can the
working cooperatively with others as part of immediate supervisor.
taking responsibility for and delivering on Don't forget to analyze job requirements such as
commitments to customers physical activities or travel.
An employee’s behaviors demonstrate Generally, three to five major duties cover the most
competencies critical to success on the job. significant demands of the job.
To identify behaviors, ask what a person needs To comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act,
to do to successfully perform each duty. For you may need to describe other means of doing a
example, you might ask: task. It’s best not to state exactly how to do some
task unless it’s essential to completing the duty.
What is the most significant personal or
interpersonal behavior that contributes to Minimum qualifications (MQs) describe the
success in this job? Depending on the knowledge, skills, and behaviors (KSBs) needed to
nature of the work, the behavioral perform the major duties of a job upon entry to the
competencies might include job. MQs provide a quick and cost-effective way to
―screen‖ – that is, to see which applicants do and
Keeps current professionally and which don’t have the competencies to do the job.
continually strives to improve ability to MQs also provide a tool for applicants to self-screen
apply new knowledge (Commitment) – to assess their background against the
requirements of the job. They can then decider
Writes clearly, logically, effectively, with whether to apply for the job.
brevity; eliminates unnecessary detail
(Communication) Developing minimum qualifications
Focuses on achieving goals and on 1. Using the job analysis, identify the KSBs that
bringing projects to closure on time are necessary on the first day of the job.
despite obstacles (Initiative and
Accountability) 2. Review the list of necessary KSBs; remove
any that could be acquired in the first six
Shares job-related data with peers and months on the job.
others. Listens and offers support and
advice on job-related problems 3. Review the list of necessary KSBs; remove
(Influence) any that can’t be measured.
Achieves results by getting a group 4. Determine the education and experience that
focused. Encourages teamwork and provide the minimum level of KSBs to perform
participation (Personal Effectiveness) the job. Be clear on type and level of
education. Be clear on type and length of
Goes beyond traditional ways to address experience. It’s best to develop this statement
issues and problems and to establish by talking with someone doing the job, pre-
and maintain effective working vious employees in that job, and supervisors.
relationships (Thinking and Problem-
Solving) 5. If you’re drafting a vacancy announcement is
being drafted, is the job is targeted for
Important considerations for the job analysis Affirmative Action? If so, consider having the
Department of Administration review the
Review the job analysis each time the job becomes minimum qualifications.
vacant. If necessary, update the information.
6. Identify other KSBs that aren’t necessary but
Get help from people who know about the job. may be desirable. Use these as a tiebreaker
Employees who have done the job or are currently only when more necessary KSBs are
GUIDELINES FOR DEVELOPING A SELECTION PLAN
are several ways to evaluate competencies and
Important considerations for minimum MQs:
Training and experience evaluations – This
MQs are a "test," as defined in the Federal Uniform method, often called TE, looks at an applicant's
Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures. training and experience as they relate to the job. If
You must be prepared to show that requirements you try to evaluate applicants solely on the
are job-related. information they give on their applications, you may
assume things about education and experience that
The required MQs should state the lowest can lead to selection problems. Using a TE based
qualifications a newly hired employee needs to on supplemental questions is more reliable.
successfully do the job. Don’t describe the sort of
experience, education, or training reflecting Supplemental Questions – Supplemental
competencies normally developed with some time questions give applicants specific guidelines to
on the job. describe the competencies they gained through
training and experience. One result of good
MQs should be specific enough that you and others supplemental questions is this: all applicants will
can use them to distinguish among applicants. understand the qualifications needed to perform the
MQs shouldn’t be so narrow that they rule out all job and have an opportunity to show their
applicants except those with an ideal background. qualifications.
If too restrictive, MQs can prevent promoting from
lower level positions, limit reassignments and On supplement responses, you can quickly review
mobility, and cause employees to seek key information. You can determine whether
opportunities elsewhere. applicants have certain knowledge or skills without
sorting through reams of résumés. You won’t have
Establishing minimum qualifications calls for to guess at the duties an applicant has performed;
realistically considering the needs of the job. In this means increased objectivity of your process.
addition, consider supply and demand of the
potential workforce in your recruiting areas.. Written tests – Written tests can be good selection
tools, but they aren’t always practical. Written
Develop MQs so that only those applicants with a exams cost a lot of time and money to develop. It’s
real likelihood of having the needed competencies critical to ensure that tests are valid; that is, that
get serious consideration for the job. they measure job-related knowledge in a way that
is also job-related.
MQs should allow for other ways of obtaining
competencies. That is, build in some flexibility Taking the test in itself requires a level of skill and
when stating MQs, such as ―an equivalent knowledge. Do you need that level of skill or
combination of education and experience.‖ knowledge on the job? Does the job require similar
―test-taking‖ behaviors? You might disqualify
Limit MQs to competencies you can observe and otherwise capable applicants just because they
evaluate. ―test poorly,‖ yet don’t need that competency on the
job. Written tests also may have an adverse impact
Second step is identifying selection procedures on some protected classes because of cultural
biases in test design.
Following job analysis, the second stage in
developing a selection plan is deciding how you will Performance tests – Performance tests involve
evaluate applicants and select the best person for having an applicant perform small samples of an
the job. actual duty. Examples include:
In your selection process, focus on the essential Taking typing test for a clerical job
KSBs. Evaluate desirable KSBs only after looking
at the essential KSBs. Responding to a question that an employee
may have to answer on the job
Identify the selection procedures you’ll use to
assess the essential and measurable KSBs. There
GUIDELINES FOR DEVELOPING A SELECTION PLAN
Operating a piece of equipment under produced part or all of the work sample. You could
controlled conditions ask applicants to produce the sample under
conditions you control; this assures the applicant is
Because they closely resemble what an employee doing the work, but it might not represent real
does on the job, performance tests are usually working conditions. Here are some examples:
more job-related than other measures. You need to
develop rating criteria in advance of using the test. A budget or a work plan that the applicant
Be careful when setting the passing score or prepared
performance on a performance exam. A failing A legal brief or computer program the
score should represent unacceptable performance applicant wrote
on the job. A thesis or paper the applicant wrote in
Physical tests – Physical tests often include
endurance or strength measurements, which could Welding samples the applicant produced
adversely impact on women, older workers, and A ―portfolio‖ of articles or artwork or
others. If you must use these tests, ensure that photographs
they accurately reflect the physical requirements of
the job. Does the employee need to lift 100 You can use written work samples to evaluate an
pounds, or does the employee need to lift 25 applicant’s writing skills, when appropriate, as well
pounds four times a day? Is equipment available as the relevant job knowledge.
that would help an employee perform some
physical work? Are there other ways to perform the References - If not done well, reference checks
job duties that do not require these abilities? can result in the same problems as informal,
unstructured interviews. Structure the questions,
Interview – The oral interview remains the most make them job-related, and present them
popular selection procedure, but they also need to consistently. Most employers check references
be valid and consistent. Structured interviews help only for the finalists. Some agencies and
meet this goal; they evaluate job-related companies are reluctant to provide reference
qualifications and apply consistently across information – some even have policies against
applicants. doing so. Still, it’s important for you to seek
Develop the questions in advance, along with
suggested responses and rating criteria. Then Important considerations for selection
conduct the interview consistently. This is key to procedures
providing a fair selection procedure.
No selection procedure is best. You should look at
Informal interviews that rely on "gut reactions" can the competencies and MQs to see which selection
teach you a lot about the applicant's actual procedures will best evaluate the applicants' ability
competencies. An applicant with excellent to perform the job. A common combination often
conversation skills will give the impression of being includes supplemental questions, a performance
well-qualified. But that person’s main competency test, interview, and reference and background
is probably the gift of gab. checks.
Informal interviews also may get information that If a certain competency is needed to perform
could lead to unlawful discrimination. You may several major duties, you should use more than one
have to defend how you used this information if selection procedure to evaluate whether applicants
your selection decision is challenged. have that competency. You must develop the
procedures you will use before you do any
Work Sample – A work sample is some tangible screening. This will reduce bias and possible
thing an applicant has produced. It should discrimination.
represent the applicant's level of competence in a
specific area. You could ask applicants to submit
the specified work sample when they apply or when
they come for an interview. This means you have
no control over it; it’s possible that someone else